Bryan Cooper: I think Empire Of Dirt has a massive chance
Apple’s Jade was so tough, and all guts, yesterday and she is a special mare. Let’s hope for more of the same on Thursday for another win in the 32Red colours.
I honestly think Yorkhill won’t come off the bridle if he stands up – he is easily the most talented horse in the race – but if he doesn’t deliver then I hope I am best equipped to take advantage. I have ridden Disko a few times, including when he was pretty underwhelming at Punchestown before Christmas, but he has really improved since and was very impressive when beating Our Duke in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month. He travels well and has plenty of pace, so 2m4f on good ground won’t be a problem for him. Yorkhill might be, though.
I don’t have a ride in the race but Lisa takes 5lb off Sutton Manor and her claim will be needed as he somehow finds himself racing off a 17lb higher mark than when winning by 4 lengths at Thurles last month. Figure that one out. He is lightly-raced and improving though, so let’s hope for the best.
Empire Of Dirt
I think he has a massive chance. He won the handicap off 142 over course and distance here last season and has improved massively in his two runs since, winning the Troytown as easily as he liked from Sunday’s Leinster National winner Abolitionist, travelling and jumping beautifully, and then looking a bit unlucky not to beat Sizing John in the Irish Gold Cup last time. I think the likely strong pace in here will suit him ideally as he steps back in trip, and he is still improving as a 10yo. I like his chances. Of course it is a competitive race with the likes of Un De Sceaux and past winner Uxizandre, but I’m confident we will give them all a race. Our Sub Lieutenant isn’t out of this either.
I don’t know what price we are but I imagine it is a pretty big one! He is an 11yo now and rated only 143, and would prefer softer ground, but we will give it a go. The favourite will be hard to beat but you have to respect Shaneshill round here, too.
Road To Respect
We obviously never got competitive at Naas last time but he had earlier run some good races behind high-class opposition, including when fourth to Coney Island in the Grade 1 Drinmore over this trip. That run came on decent ground, too. I’d give him a fair each-way chance, though a mark of 145 is probably high enough on the balance of his form.
She would have a little each-way chance. She won well at Fairyhouse and then ran a good race when fifth in the Deloitte but she needs to progress again to be winning this.
I obviously don’t have a ride and we don’t have one in here, so I haven’t looked at the race.
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